Government Secures J$250-Million for Road Maintenance Programme


The first tranche (J$250-million) of a European Union (EU) 12.25 million Euro budgetary support programme to strengthen the management capacity of institutions involved in road maintenance was presented to Prime Minister Bruce Golding by Ambassador Marco Mazzochi-Alemani, Head of the European Commission delegation to Jamaica.
The handing over took place yesterday (Feb 26) at Jamaica House.
In his remarks, Mr. Golding said Jamaica has a large road network which places significant strain on the available resources to maintain them and preserve their value. He said some roads are in a state of disrepair and require complete rehabilitation and structural work. Mr. Golding said the EU’s budgetary support programme for capacity strengthening would enhance the ability of the government to put in place, timely road maintenance.
He said the overloading of vehicles was one of the contributing factors to the deterioration of the road surfaces and that government would implement and enforce an axle control programme. This will include the installation of scales to weigh trucks suspected of carrying loads above their capacity.
Mr. Golding said institutional capacity strengthening was important to road development, adding that the funding would enable the government to provide the level of management and leadership that the programme requires. He said the Ministry of Transport and Work and the Local Government Division within the Office of the Prime Minister, would oversee the implementation of the programme.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Minister of Transport and Works Mike Henry said the government was moving apace with the support mechanism to meet the conditions for future draw-down from the programme. This includes the Road Maintenance Master Plan that has been submitted to Cabinet. He said the plan includes the maintenance of agricultural roads, as part of the government’s development policy. Mr. Henry said the National Transport Policy that was approved by Cabinet as a condition for the present draw-down, also provides for a system of multi-mode transportation.
Ambassador Alemanni said the handing over of a portion of the funding arrangement was an indication that government budgetary support could be provided for EU funding programmes. He said the introduction of weighing stations and road maintenance financing programme were conditions to be met for the third and final trance of the EU funded programme.
The EU Support to the Road Sector programme aims to assist the government with the implementation of the country’s road sector policy and is financed under the 9th European Development Fund (EDF). Other road sector projects funded by the EU include, Segment 3 of the Northern Coastal Highway Improvement Project valued at 80 Million euros. The EU has also funded the Intervention for Rural and Parochial Rehabilitation and Maintenance project at a cost of 2 Million euros.
Also present at today’s handing over were Joseph Hibbert, Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Works, Dr. Wesley Hughes, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica and other government and PIOJ officials.

JIS Social